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Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Review: Small Change

Through work, I had an opportunity to attend a library conference this week and managed to score many advanced reader copies of to-be-published books. This was a popular (and frugal!) way to bring home "guilt travel" gifts for the kids (and Mr. Poorhouse) without spending a dime.

One of the books I picked up was Small Change by Sheila Roberts. The author herself was at the St. Martin's booth signing copies. (Did I ever mention I have a little collection of signed books? It started back in the days when I had money and bought books instead of borrowing them from the library).

Anywho, Small Changes is really a self-help book thinly disguised as a novel. It follows three friends in financial straights: our heroine Rachel is reeling financially and emotionally from a divorce and is caught in the trap of trying to buy her children's affection; her friend, one-time rocker Jess has never had a job, and both her husband and son are facing unemployment; and pitiful Tiffany drowns her infertility sorrows by running up credit card bills on things she doesn't need and can't afford.

The women band together in a support group, getting wise about money and finding ways to increase their incomes and decrease their expenses. Of course, they live happily ever after and go on to build their emergency savings accounts in case a rainy day should strike again. The story is almost a morality play for financial control.

And it contains good tips, particularly for women who do not have to work full time. For them, the recipes for cordial and home-made jams to give as gifts instead of over spending on unwanted mall tschakas may make sense. Each of these women learn to transform their personal strengths into a way to make or save money.

For those who can't stomach a self-help book, this novel makes the advice easy to swallow.

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